Hello World: Creating this blog


Welcome to the new iteration of this blog. It’s been a while since I’ve touched this and this time I really want to do better. Instead of a boring “Hello World” initial blog post, I wanted to write about the process I went though to create this site.

This iteration is also powered by Hugo and hosted by Netlify.

0. Installing Homebrew

I am creating this website on an older Macbook Pro (Catalina). Before we begin, you need to ensure you have Homebrew installed. You can run


to see if it’s installed. If it is not, you can install it by running the following command:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install.sh)"

1. Installing Hugo

Now we need to install Hugo. You can do this via running:

brew install hugo

and then check the install via running

hugo version

I’m running v0.69.0. Note: Later in these series, I will be using features from v0.67.0, so it is important to have a new version

2. Creating a new git repo

The next step is to create a git repo. Netlify (the hosting provider I’m going to use) supports Github, Gitlab & BitBucket. I’m going to use Github and use a private repository as shown below:

I’m now going to create a new folder on my macbook and clone the repository:

mkdir Sites
cd Sites
git clone https://github.com/<username>/<repo>.git
cd <repo>


$ mkdir Sites
$ cd Sites
build@machine Sites % git clone git@github.com:michael-kehoe/michael-kehoe.io.git
Cloning into 'michael-kehoe.io'...
remote: Enumerating objects: 3, done.
remote: Counting objects: 100% (3/3), done.
remote: Total 3 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0), pack-reused 0
Receiving objects: 100% (3/3), done.
build@machine Sites % ls
michael-kehoe.io old_mk
build@machine Sites % cd michael-kehoe.io
build@silicon michael-kehoe.io %

3. Creating a new site

Now create the skeleton site. You do this via running

hugo new site . --force

For my site, I ran:

build@silicon michael-kehoe.io % hugo new site . --force

4. Picking a theme

See https://themes.gohugo.io for a list of themes to look through. There is nothing stopping you from creating your own, or modifying one (if the license permits). The feature set of a theme may vary (e.g. Social Media Button support).

For this site, I’m using hugo-refresh.

NOTE: The rest of this tutorial assumes that you are using the hugo-refresh theme

5. Installing the theme

Now we want to install the theme into our repository:

To do this you run

git submodule add <git repo of theme> themes/<theme-name>


git submodule add https://github.com/PippoRJ/hugo-refresh.git themes/hugo-refresh

I’m going to make modifications to the theme, so I’m going to fork the repo (In Github) and modify it shortly.

git submodule add git@github.com:michael-kehoe/hugo-refresh.git themes/hugo-refresh

6. Create some basic configuration

We’re going to do two things here to allow the server to start:

  1. Delete the config.toml file that was auto-generated
  2. Copy the example configuration cp themes/hugo-refresh/exampleSite/config.yaml .

At this time, I also want to make some small configuration changes:

  1. Change the baseURL to https://michael-kehoe.io
  2. Change the title to Michael Kehoe
  3. Disable disableKinds: ["sitemap","RSS"]
baseURL: https://michael-kehoe.io
title: Michael Kehoe
# disableKinds: ["sitemap","RSS"]

7. Running a local server

Hugo provides a simple server to build the content and serve it (very quickly). You can do this by running this in a new tab:

hugo server

It may be useful to render draft posts that you’re writing. In that case, you will want to run

hugo server -D

If you go to http://localhost:1313/ in a browser, you should see your website load. If it doesn’t, the tab that’s running hugo server -D should have some error information.

Initial page

7. Tweaking the parameters

In config.yaml, we’re going to tweak some settings under the params section.

7.1 General Settings

  1. I want to set articlesPerRow: 3 to articlesPerRow: 4. This is mostly personal preference.
  2. I am also updating my favicon to be an avatar. I made it on https://avatarmaker.com/ and downloaded the SVG and placed it in themes/hugo-refresh/assets/images/avataaars.svg. We will use this same avatar on the homepage later in this section
  3. I’m setting jsMinify: true and cssMinify: true. This may lead to slightly slower build times, but it gives people viewing the page a slightly better experience in terms of load times.
  4. I’m setting mainColour: "#284ed8". This is the same color as the eyes in my avatar

7.2 Page not found

Under pagNotFound: (yes, there is a typo, but it’s in the theme), I’m modifying my avatar to show a frowny face. I’ve saved it in themes/hugo-refresh/assets/images/avataaars_404.svg and updated the image config to image: "/images/avataaars_404.svg". You can test this by going to http://localhost:1313/404.html

7.3 Homepage settings

In here, I make a few changes, firstly setting linkPosition: "menu+footer". This gives me a link to the homepage at both the top and bottom of the page. I set the title of the page to be Michael Kehoe and I’ve also updated my avatar.

  # homepage options
    # this options let you specify if you want a link to the homepage
    # it can be: "none", "menu", "footer" or "menu+footer"
    linkPosition: "menu+footer"
    # this options let you specify the text of the link to the homepage
    linkText: "Home"
    # option to specify the title in the homepage
    title: Michael Kehoe
    # option to specify the subtitle in the homepage
    subtitle: Leader of engineers who architect reliable, scalable infrastructure
    # option to specify image in the homepage
    image: "/images/avataaars.svg" # worker.svg 
    # option to specify the width of the image in the homepage
    imageWidth: 500px

If you go back to your browser window, you should see the word Home in the top navbar, updated text in the center of the page and a new avatar.

Under footer:, we’re going to make some simple changes here and then some more complicated ones

  1. Disable the email option as we do not want to allow our email address to be spammed.
    #  link: name.surname@domain.com
    #  title: My Email
  1. Set my LinkedIn
      link: michaelkkehoe
      title: LinkedIn
  1. Set my Github
      link: michael-kehoe
      title: Github
  1. Set my Twitter
       link: michaelkkehoe
       title: Twitter
  1. Set the copyright:
copyright: Michael Kehoe - 2020
  1. Adding Slideshare and Speakerdeck This one is a little harder, so after the instagram section, I’m adding the following configuration
        link: MichaelKehoe3
        title: slideshare

In themes/hugo-refresh/layouts/partials/footer.html, we’re going to add the following after the {{ if isset .Site.Params.footer.instagram "link" }} section

            {{ if isset .Site.Params.footer.slideshare "link" }}
              <a href="https://slideshare.net/{{ .Site.Params.footer.slideshare.link }}" target="_blank">
                <span class="icon"><i class="fa fa-slideshare"></i></span>
                {{ if isset .Site.Params.footer.slideshare "title" }}
                  {{ .Site.Params.footer.slideshare.title }}
                {{ else }}
                {{ end }}
            {{ end }}

8. Organizing Content

Ok time to make some content!

8.1 Adding a credits page

Create a folder content/credits and inside the folder create index.md. When your server loads, you’ll see a credits link in the footer of the page.

Edit `content/credits/index.md:

title: "Credits"
date: 2020-04-24T00:00:00+00:00
draft: tfalse
hideLastModified: true
The images used in the site comes from https://avatarmaker.com/

To add your credits and then click on the credits link in the footer.

8.2 Adding an About page

Now I want to add a page about myself that has my biography. Create a file content/about.md and add the following content:

title: "About"
date: 2020-04-24T00:00:00+00:00
draft: false
hideLastModified: false
keepImageRatio: true
tags: []
summary: "About Michael Kehoe"
showInMenu: true
<Biography content>

When the hugo server reloads, you’ll see in the navbar a link called About

This concludes this blog post, we’ll talk more in the next blog post about styling and content organization.

Last modified: 27 May 2020